American Superconductor Corp., Westborough, Mass., and Pirelli Cables and Systems announced a new agreement by which Pirelli will provide up to $13.8 million in additional funding to American Superconductor for the development of high-temperature superconducting (HTS) wires for use in power cables.

HTS power cables are expected to carry up to five times the amount of power as copper cables of the same size. The companies also announced the signing of an agreement to exploit HTS wire for use in fault-current limiters, devices that are employed to limit power surges in electrical networks. The new HTS wire development program focuses on further improvements in American Superconductor's currently available commercial HTS wire as well as on the development of a next-generation wire technology.

Pirelli formed a strategic alliance with American Superconductor in 1990, and has since invested considerable amounts in developing technology for HTS power cable systems.